Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather to stand down from Parliament in 2015

The former Children's Minister has told the <em>Observer</em> that she feels Nick Clegg's party no longer campaigns sufficiently for social justice and liberal values on immigration.

Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather has announced, via an interview with Toby Helm of the Observer, that she will not be seeking re-election to Parliament in 2015.

She cited disappointment with her party's stance on immigration and social issues since joining the Coalition among the reasons for her decision, as well as the impact on her own life and wellbeing. In a statement on her website, she said that her differences with the party "have been getting larger rather than smaller".

She told the paper:

I don't want to say it is impossible for other people to do it, but for me, with my resources, with who I am, with my constituency, I personally can't see how I can make this sustainable for the next 10 years and behave like a normal human being that I like.

Teather was elected as the MP at the Brent East by-election in 2003, overturning a 13,000 strong Labour majority to take the seat for the Lib Dems in what was considered to be a backlash against the Labour government's support for the Iraq war.

She was appointed Children's Minister on the formation of the Coalition, but was sacked during a reshuffle in September 2012. She subsequently spoke out against the government's benefit cap.

The timing of Teather's announcement - in the run-up to the Lib Dems' conference in Glasgow - and her decision to make it in an interview with a national broadsheet looks calculated to cause the maximum possible discomfort for Nick Clegg. She attracted a lot of criticism for voting against the second reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act earlier this year, and some commentators have suggested that this has attributed to her decision not to seek re-election.

A spokesperson for the Lib Dems told the Observer:

Of course we are disappointed by Sarah's decision.

The Liberal Democrats have a proud record in government, including cutting taxes for working people by £700 and lifting the poorest paid out of tax altogether; helping businesses create a million jobs; investing billions more in schools to help the poorest children and introducing radical plans for shared parental leave.

Sarah was a part of this when she served as a minister in the coalition, as well as playing a key role in ending Labour's disgraceful policy of locking up children for immigration purposes.

Sarah Teather at the Lib Dem party conference in 2011. Photo: Getty

Caroline Crampton is assistant editor of the New Statesman. She writes a weekly podcast column.

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Donald Trump vs Barack Obama: How the inauguration speeches compared

We compared the two presidents on trade, foreign affairs and climate change – so you (really, really) don't have to.

After watching Donald Trump's inaugural address, what better way to get rid of the last few dregs of hope than by comparing what he said with Barack Obama's address from 2009? 

Both thanked the previous President, with Trump calling the Obamas "magnificent", and pledged to reform Washington, but the comparison ended there. 

Here is what each of them said: 

On American jobs

Obama:

The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift.  And we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.  We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.  We'll restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.  We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.  And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.

Trump:

For many decades we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

Obama had a plan for growth. Trump just blames the rest of the world...

On global warming

Obama:

With old friends and former foes, we'll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

Trump:

On the Middle East:

Obama:

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. 

Trump:

We will re-enforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.

On “greatness”

Obama:

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.

Trump:

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

 

On trade

Obama:

This is the journey we continue today.  We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth.  Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began.  Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week, or last month, or last year.  Our capacity remains undiminished.  

Trump:

We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our product, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never ever let you down.

Stephanie Boland is digital assistant at the New Statesman. She tweets at @stephanieboland